Thursday, July 21, 2016

Daily Headlines: July 21, 2016

* South America: The Copa Libertadores title is up for grabs and will be decided in Medellin next Wednesday as Independiente del Valle of Ecuador and Colombia’s Atletico Nacional tied 1-1 in the first leg of the finals.

* United States: A federal appeals court ruled that that the voter ID restrictions in Texas violated the federal Voting Rights Act by discriminating against the poor and minorities like Latinos.

* Mexico: Pedro Rosas Tamayo, a Mexican journalist who received death threats and was purportedly under police protection, was shot and killed at his home in Veracruz.

* Puerto Rico: Several hedge funds who are bondholders of Puerto Rico’s multi-billion dollar debt filed a lawsuit against the Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla and the government of the commonwealth.

YouTube Source – Fox Deportes

Online Sources – SBS, Fox News Latino, teleSUR English, Bloomberg

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Daily Headlines: July 20, 2016 (Updated)

* Peru: President-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski rejected the possibility of pardoning Alberto Fujimori, the former leader imprisoned over crimes against humanity and embezzlement during his decade in power.

* Brazil: Does an group of Brazilian extremists with alleged ties to the Islamic State really exist or is it instead “the work of an ISIS social media activist”?

Update (07/21/16): Brazilian police arrested ten extremists though authorities underlined that the suspects never traveled to meet with anyone connected to ISIS or detailed any specific targets of attack.    

* U.S.: A quick poll of Latino registered voters taken after the first night of the Republican National Convention found that nearly four out of five respondents have an unfavorable view of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

* Latin America: Jose Miguel Insulza, the former Organization of American States chief and Chile's representative before the International Court of Justice, blasted the foreign minister of Bolivia for visiting Chile.

YouTube Source – Associated Press (From April 2009: “A special tribunal convicted former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori of murder and kidnapping on Tuesday and sentenced him to 25 years in prison for death squad activities during his autocratic 10-year rule.”)

Online Sources including Update – Xinhua, NBC News, Fox News Latino, ABC News, CBS News

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Daily Headlines: July 19, 2016

* Guatemala: Byron Lima, a former military officer convicted of assassinating outspoken Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi, was killed by a few of his fellow inmates during a prison riot.

* Peru: An arbitration panel ruled in favor of the Peruvian state in its environmental damages case against Renco Group.

* Argentina: On the twenty-second anniversary of the AMIA center bombing, family members of some of the 85 dead called for justice and stronger government support for the investigation into the attack.

* Mexico: President Enrique Peña Nieto unveiled a series of measures to combat corruption and also publicly apologized for allegations of wrongdoing linked to the purchase of a luxury home by his wife, Angelica Rivera.

YouTube Source – AP Archive (Guatemalan Roman Catholic bishop Juan Jose Gerardi was a strong human rights defender who was murdered in 1998 after he published a report on abuses by the army during the country’s civil war).

Online Sources – UPI, MercoPress, BBC News, Bloomberg

Monday, July 18, 2016

Daily Headlines: July 18, 2016

* U.S.: A new poll indicates an overwhelming majority of residents in the U.S.-Mexico border region are opposed to building a wall between both countries and also support a path to U.S. citizenship for undocumented Mexican immigrants.

* Colombia: Jarlinson Pantano of Colombia won his first Tour de France stage on Sunday, while his compatriot and race contender Nairo Quintana’s expected attack this week may not be enough to dethrone Chris Froome from winning his second straight Tour.

* Cuba:
The U.S. Congress is gradually easing its opposition to normalizing ties with Cuba despite staunch opposition from Cuban-American legislators.

* Venezuela: At least 100,000 people took advantage of a brief reopening of the Venezuelan border with Colombia mainly to buy basic goods and medicine.

YouTube Source – Wall Street Journal (From February 2016: “Building a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico would be full of daunting challenges, from environmental regulations to private property laws. But that hasn't stopped politicians from pledging to do it”)

Online Sources – Dallas Morning News, BBC Sport, Sky Sports, The Hill, Macon Telegraph

Friday, July 15, 2016

Daily Headlines: July 15, 2016

* El Salvador: El Salvador’s Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional an amnesty law protecting individuals suspected of committing crimes linked to the civil war from 1980 to 1992.

* Brazil: The recession battering Brazil has worsened with May showing the worst level of economic activity in more than six years.

* Mexico: The Mexican government announced changes to a teacher evaluation program following protests by educators arguing that the exams adversely affect rural communities with few resources.

* Peru: Environmentalists and opposition lawmakers will likely push back against President-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s plan to lower air quality standards in order to boost investment in mining.

YouTube Source – Catholic News Service (The 1980 murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero could be one of the cases reopened after a top court declared a civil war crimes amnesty as unconstitutional).

Online Sources – Fox News Latino, Xinhua, Latin American Herald Tribune, Reuters

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Daily Headlines: July 14, 2016

* Chile: Survivors of Colonia Dignidad, a German enclave in Chile where dissidents where executed during the rule of strongman Augusto Pinochet, called on the area to become a memorial site instead of its current status as a tourist attraction.

* Brazil: The Brazilian government boosted security funding for the upcoming Rio Games by $24 million and added 3000 troops for the event, while French intelligence claimed they were informed of a planned attack against that country’s Olympics team.

* Nicaragua: The Contras and Sandinistas are about to battle each other again though this time it will be in the voting booths for president instead of the military battlefields.

* Colombia: Atletico Nacional is another step closer to capturing their first Copa Libertadores title in twenty-seven years after easily eliminating Sao Paulo of Brazil in the semifinals.

YouTube Source – Al Jazeera English (Video posted on November 2013).

Online Sources – Fox News Latino, UPI, BBC News, teleSUR English, Colombia Reports

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Daily Headlines: July 13, 2016

* Paraguay: A Paraguayan court sentenced eleven farmers to a maximum of thirty years in prison for the deaths of policemen during land rights protests that were the catalyst for the ouster of ex-President Fernando Lugo.

* Ecuador: Human rights groups criticized the Ecaudoran government’s decision last week to deport 75 Cuban migrants arrested for protesting outside the Mexican embassy in Quito.

* Puerto Rico: Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla of Puerto Rico warned that the commonwealth still faces major fiscal challenges despite the recent approval of a law providing relief to the $70 billion public debt.

* Latin America: Officials from Mexico and the United States agreed on a plan to improve access to asylum for Central American migrants seeking to escape rampant violence and economic hardship in their respective countries.

YouTube Source – Al Jazeera English (From March 2014: “Thousands of Paraguayan farmers have gathered outside the country's Congress in Asuncion to vent their frustration at (then) President Horacio Cartes, who they say has failed to deliver on land reform promises.”)

Online Sources – BBC News, ABC News, Reuters, The Guardian

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Daily Headlines: July 12, 2016

* Uruguay: An World Bank arbitration panel ruled against an appeal by tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris over Uruguay’s strict anti-smoking laws that include placing a health warning on 80% of cigarette packs.

* Venezuela: President Nicolás Maduro claimed Citibank “with no warning” will close several key Venezuelan government accounts, and ordered the seizure of the only local factory belonging to the departing Kimberly-Clark personal care firm.

* United States: A new poll of Latino voters found that immigration is the most important issue while nearly three out of four respondents back Hillary Clinton in the race for the United States presidency.

* Panama: Interpol warned drug traffickers could take advantage of the anticipated boost in maritime shippers using the expanded Panama Canal.

YouTube Source – euronews

Online Sources – Christian Science Monitor, Reuters, ABC News, Latino Decisions, InSight Crime

Monday, July 11, 2016

Daily Headlines: July 11, 2016

* Haiti: The State Department pledged support by the United States to Haiti despite suspending financial help to the Caribbean country’s troublesome election process.

* Latin America: The quality of higher education in Latin America has been unable to meet the growing demand for a university education, according to new research.

* El Salvador: Ten people including five police officers were arrested over allegedly participating in a death squad linked to the deaths of forty suspected gang members in El Salvador.

* Mexico: Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto called the North American Free Trade Agreement a “win-win mechanism” for job creation and economic growth for his country, the United States and Canada.

YouTube Source – AJ+ (From January 20, 2016: “Protesters calling for fresh elections clashed with riot police in Haiti as the presidential run-off vote looms.”)

Online Sources – The Washington Post, Fox News Latino, The Hill, Times Higher Education

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Daily Headlines: July 7, 2016

* Brazil: A new study concluded that the Rio Olympics starting in less than a month have gone a whopping 51% over budget with a price tag of some $1.6 billion.

* South America: Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said he will push for the reopening of the border with Venezuela after several hundred women from the neighboring country surged into Cucuta to obtain basic goods and medicine.

* Cuba: The Cuban government will reportedly enact additional energy rationing on top of other austerity measures including cutting work hours and limiting the use of automobiles.

* Argentina: Former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner filed a legal complaint a Buenos Aires judge who froze her assets over alleged financial irregularities.

YouTube Source – Get to Know (Uploaded on February 14, 2016).

Online Sources – Colombia Reports, UPI, BBC News, Financial Times, The Globe and Mail

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Daily Headlines: July 6, 2016

* Mexico: The Mexican government has offered to hold negotiations with representatives of teachers on a strike that has expanded beyond Oaxaca and into Mexico City.

* Ecuador: Ecuadorian Finance Minister Fausto Herrera admitted that officials are looking into creating a framework to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court order to pay Chevron $96 million.

* Brazil: U.S. and Brazilian authorities are looking for a former Guantanamo military prison detainee who resettled in Uruguay nearly two years ago but whose current whereabouts are unknown.

* Spain: A Spanish court sentenced Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi and his father to twenty-one months in prison for tax fraud but both men could escape jail time.

YouTube Source – CCTV America (From July 1, 2016: “The situation in Oaxaca still remains tense after clashes between teachers unions and the police. Blockades remain, while shortages of basic products are affecting the region.”)

Online Sources – teleSUR English, Fox News Latino, Marca, CNN

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Daily Headlines: July 5, 2016

* Chile: The Chilean men’s soccer team on Sunday celebrated its recent Copa America Centenario triumph with an open-top bus parade in Santiago and a ceremony attended by 30,000 fans of La Roja at the Estadio Nacional.

* Latin America: New academic research indicates that Venezuela’s homicide rate is high but not as much as scholars believed, while the murder rate in El Salvador has fallen in recent months.

* Uruguay: The head of the Uruguayan National Drug Board said that officials are considering expanding an upcoming program to legally sell marijuana beyond pharmacies and into other retail options.

* Venezuela: The Venezuelan government ended its plan to save energy that was enacted last April and included electricity rationing, shortened work weeks for state employees and moving clocks forward half an hour.

YouTube Source – AFP

Online Sources –, Vice News, InSight Crime, Xinhua, Lift

Friday, July 1, 2016

Daily Headlines: July 1, 2016

* El Salvador: Around 300 protesters marched to the residence of El Salvador’s president and called for better prison conditions for inmates including suspected gang members targeted in a security crackdown.

* Brazil: The head of Brazil’s anti-doping agency was replaced though the sports ministry claimed it had nothing to do with the suspension of its Rio de Janeiro laboratory weeks before the start of the Olympics.

* Latin America: “We cannot remain frozen in the face of a decision that could be difficult and catastrophic,” said Mexico’s economics secretary in reference to the possible aftermath of this year’s U.S. presidential election.

* Colombia: Thirty-three people were arrested and eleven tons of cocaine seized in a joint counternarcotics operation involving Italian and Colombian authorities.

YouTube Source – CCTV Americas Now (From December 2012: An “in-depth look at the issue of prison overcrowding in El Salvador, where many are packed into penitentiaries way beyond their limits forced to live a life of filth.”)

Online Sources – The Washington Post, Yahoo Finance, Reuters, MercoPress

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Daily Headlines: June 30, 2016

* Guatemala: An estimated 2.8 million people have been affected by a drought in Guatemala including 900,000 at risk of malnutrition and requiring prompt assistance.

* Mexico: The leaders of the U.S., Canada and Mexico unveiled a plan to boost clean energy throughout North America and also pledged to strengthen economic ties in the region.

* Chile: Officials implemented a new law aimed at lowering Chile’s high child obesity rate by banning ads targeting minors under the age of 14 and prohibiting selling food with a toy prize.

* U.S.: The judge who controversially gave a lenient sentence to convicted rapist Brock Turner has been accused of racial bias for ordering a harsher punishment against a Latino defendant in a similar case of sexual assault.

YouTube Source – CCTV English

Online Sources – Al Jazeera, Voice of America, CBC, Fusion

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sao Paulo Separatists Buoyed by Brexit Vote

The June 23rd referendum showing a slim majority backed the United Kingdom leaving the European Union has led to increased talk of similar types of withdrawals. Some plans, such as Scotland and Northern Ireland possibly breaking away from the U.K., could easily become a reality. Others, however, seem to be not as serious and are more a pipe dream for their supporters. The campaign by a group of Sao Paulo separatists in Brazil fits into this latter category.

Calling themselves the Sampa Libre (SPL) movement, backers of the campaign have called on a plebiscite to be held on October 2nd to decide if Brazil’s wealthiest and highest populated state should become its own independent country.

“With the victory of those who defended the withdrawal of Great Britain from the European Union, it has become clear that times have changed and what appeared impossible can soon be realized. That will be the case for Paulista independence,” read a post on the SPL’s Facebook page that has been shared at least 12,000 times.

The SPL justifies their cause by claiming that Sao Paulo wanted to become its own country but was rejected by the “traitor” emperor Dom Pedro I who instead declared Brazil as its own country in 1822. The group further cited alleged “historical documents from the Portuguese crown where the king is warned to be alert against the Paulistas due to their “excessive love of liberty.’”

While the SPL’s move towards independence may be seen as a laughing matter, what isn’t is the potential effect the Brexit action could have on the Brazilian economy under recession.

Daily Headlines: June 29, 2016

* Cuba: A U.S. federal judge ruled that a group of Cuban migrants who climbed a lighthouse off the Florida Keys must be returned to their homeland as part of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy.

* U.S.: Non-citizen Latinos may be barred from voting in federal elections but a new report found that they are a politically active group and could play an important role in the upcoming U.S. presidential election.

* Peru: President-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski claimed a “social revolution” is needed to reduce inequality, particularly for the most impoverished regions of Peru.

* Mexico: Canada and Mexico reached key immigration and trade agreements prior to the start of the “Three Amigos” summit today of the leaders of both nations plus the U.S..

YouTube Source – Associated Press (From June 2015: “The US-Cuba relationship is changing, but the U.S. Coast Guard continues to interdict thousands of Cuban migrants risking their lives to take advantage of the controversial 'wet foot dry foot' policy.”)

Online Sources – NBC NEWS, CNN, The Atlantic, Xinhua